Loose Lips

No Record of Brown Campaign Paying Staff in Original Campaign Reports

You think you've got troubles? Just be glad you're not At-Large Councilmember Michael Brown's campaign.

On the front page of today's Post Metro section is a story in which the lawyer for Brown's fired campaign treasurer, Hakim Sutton, says his client drew a salary from the campaign but that Brown ordered Sutton not to report the salary on campaign finance reports in order to make it look the campaign had more cash. Brown fired Sutton this summer after Brown says he discovered that a large amount of campaign funds was missing. Police raided Sutton's home, but he's not been charged with any crime.

In a follow-up blog post, the Post notes that Brown's campaign finance reports "list no direct payments to Sutton, who claims he’s been working for the campaign as its treasurer and senior strategist since last summer." On previous campaigns, including those of Brown, Sutton has been paid at regular intervals.

Brown campaign spokesman Asher Corson tells the paper that Sutton was responsible for the campaign's reports and never submitted any invoices that would justify being paid.

In addition to showing no payments to Sutton, Brown's original campaign report from June 10, 2012, show no payments to any campaign workers at all. But in an amended June 10 report filed after the Office of Campaign Finance conducted an audit, the campaign shows a $6,000 payment to a company owned by Khadijah Tribble, who did field work for the campaign, and a $250 payment to a Jeffrey Burchett, who is listed as a "consultant" from Pittsburgh.  (The amended report says of the payment to Tribble:  "per audit 6/21/12." But if that's when the payment was made, it's not clear why it would be listed in the June 1o amended report and not the subsequent report. Says Corson: "At the time of the June report, Councilmember Brown did not know whether Ms. Tribble had been paid or not." )

OCF's audit found 11 expenditures totaling $12,000 that weren't initially reported by the campaign. Amended campaign reports show those payments went to staff, advertising, and campaign supplies.

"In our opinion, the failure to disclose each expenditure and report the total sum of all expenditures may represent individual violations of D.C. Official Code," says OCF.

At a news conference earlier this month, reporters asked Brown how he didn't notice that nearly $114,000 of campaign money flew out the door. Brown says it was because he wasn't  keeping track of the campaign's bank statements. But he stressed that he was paying close attention to campaign finance reports.

"All the reports were coming in and clearly the reports we thought were accurate, " Brown said. He added: "I was looking directly at the campaign finance records...I should have been looking at the bank statements. If I looked at the bank statements I would have seen some confusion."

Looks like there was plenty of confusion in the campaign finance reports, as well.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

  • The Java Master

    Brown likes to cut corners and then blame others for his troubles. The loser are D.C. residents and taxpayers.

  • NE John

    Yes, this time Java, but he will be crushed and tossed aside come November.

  • NE John

    And I must add Brown is looking very eggyhead today

  • NE John

    He's got a small endian egghead

  • NE John

    Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, ...

  • Drez

    Paying staff off the books. Not keeping track of campaign finance issues.
    Tsk Tsk
    All too familiar.

  • Gary

    Brown has defrauded and cheated DC taxpayers and supporters. Evidence will come out soon. He should resign and avoid embarrassing the City and himself.

  • DC Guy

    And this is one of a small handful of people with oversight of DC finances?

  • Bloomie

    Brown is fully guilty of putting his full trust in his Treasurer but the one thing you will never read from Sutton's boyfriend Tim Craig of the WaPo(Yes, word on the street is they have been intimate) is Hakim J Sutton's court record.

    11 court cases in 5 years! Seems he had a motive to steal. If I were Patterson or Barry or the other's I'd recheck my books.

    See for yourself- search his name
    http://www.dccourts.gov/internet/CCO.jsf

    2010 SC2 002893
    Sml Clms >$500 $500 $500 $500 $2,500 $500 $500 <=$2500
    SUTTON, HAKIM J
    Defendant
    Closed
    11/16/2007

  • Bloomie

    2010 SC2 002893 Sml Clms >$500 $500 $500 $500 $2,500 $500 $500 <=$2500 SUTTON, HAKIM J Defendant Closed 11/16/2007

  • Brian

    What ever happened to the Investigation in to the Millions wasted by DHCD under Michael Browns purview? Seems he has no clue what he's doing.

  • ToTheContrary

    At this point if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck I'm not calling it a swan. Brown won't be getting my vote. But neither will Grasso.

  • Lexus Variance

    Here's the bad part:DC voters are not-so-bright...and they are lazy. They will vote Michael Brown back into office. You watch. It's sad.

  • John

    My bet? Both are telling the truth.

    Just speculation, but the facts fit the following scenario. Brown's campaign wasn't raising big bucks, so he had Sutton keep things off the books to make his numbers look better, per the scenario Sutton claims. However...

    Sutton likely saw an opportunity to skim some extra off the top. After all, Brown was committing electoral fraud here...what's he gonna do if Sutton took some extra? Go to the cops? However...

    The numbers just got too big, and reporting time hit. So everyone got trapped into the present scenario, Brown couldn't say "I was conning the OCF, and he took advantage and stole from me", so he only reported the stealing. Sutton then spilled on the OCF fraud to try and cut a deal...now the investigators are trying to sort it all out before moving.

  • DC Antics

    Michael Brown has so much other dirt besides this. The file on the side pieces alone is thick. Check their bank accounts. He needs to go.

  • dclastcolony

    For all you negative commentors, what will your life reveal under a microscope? And for Lexus Variance, comment #13, your comments are racist and totally unfounded. DC voters are well informed and educated. DC ranks amongst the highest per capita college graduates in the nation. DC voter are not lazy. They we are loyal! Get a life...

  • NE John

    I admit it, I am eggist

...